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Democracy in action!
Friday 2nd October, 2009

Democracy in action!

A week is a long time in politics…

In Wigan we’re hoping to update this oft-used cliché by making a week a ‘good’ time in politics.

Monday October 12 marks the beginning of the borough’s annual Local Democracy Week and there really has never been a better time to get involved and have your say.

Now in its fifth year, Wigan’s Local Democracy Week is part of a national campaign that encourages people from all walks of life to take a more active role in the local decision-making process.

Councils across the country are gearing up for the week-long series of events all aimed at making the business of local government more appealing and relevant to people of all ages.

The motto for Local Democracy Week is – Take Part, Take Power and this year the council and its partners are encouraging people to do exactly that.

Kicking off the celebrations will be Wigan Council’s elected members intrepid journey into cyberspace as part of the I’m A Councillor Get Me Out Of Here competition.

From Friday October 2, councillors Barry Fagan, Steve Dawber, Robert Bleakley, Judith Atherton, Joe Haley and Gareth Fairhurst will be engaging with school children through the internet.

The councillors will be sharing their thoughts and opinions and answering any and all questions put to them. One-by-one the young people will take turns in voting one of the councillors out over a two-week period, leaving one eventual winner.

Anyone can log onto www.bigvote.org.uk and look at the Wigan councillors’ contributions.

Other highlights of the week include two young people being elected Mayors for the Day and given the chance to experience the roles and

responsibilities of the borough’s first citizen.

Last year’s winner Jilly McKiernan from Ashton, says about her experience: “It was a great! It’s important for young people to get involved with local issues. Lots of things are being done but there are lots of kids who don’t know about them.”

The Mayors for a Day will don their robes and chain on Thursday October 15.
There will be a chance for young people and adults alike to pitch any questions they have on the burning issues of the day to a select panel as part of a series of television-style debates taking place during the week.

On Monday October 12, Westleigh High School will hold the first of four Question Time events hosted by North West Tonight Chief Reporter Dave Guest.

Standish High School will host another on Thursday October 15 and St Edmund Arrowsmith will welcome the team on Monday October 19.

While the increasingly popular Question Time event for the public will take place at Wigan Town hall on Wednesday October 21. The Local Democracy Week team are now looking for people to take part in the event by becoming audience members and possibly even asking a question.

On Wednesday October 14 the Boroughwide Community Network will be holding a special meeting to discuss the council’s budget at the Tudor House in Hindley.

Last year the council’s Cabinet held a meeting with young people to talk about issues that are important to them. It was such as success that the young people have formed a Youth Cabinet that will be recognised by the council. The group will be meeting on Thursday October 15 to open a debate on budgeting issues and how they affect young people.

Wigan Council Chief Executive Joyce Redfearn says: “Everything we do at the council is done in the spirit of enhancing and improving the lives of all our residents, but we cannot do this alone.”

Joyce adds: “Many people in the borough tell us what they think of the services we provide but we want people within our communities to take an active role in shaping services provided by the council and other organisations.

“We want people to know that their opinions do count, that they do have a voice and their views are important.
“Local Democracy Week is a great way to find out how you can do this and to find more about the work of the council and your elected representatives.

“There are many exciting changes taking place in our borough at the moment so there really has never been a better time to get involved and have your say.

“In time we would like to make every week Local Democracy Week.”

  • You can find out more about Local Democracy Week by visiting the Local Democracy Week Diary at Wigan Council’s website – www.wigan.gov.uk

  • For more information on the public Question Time debate and to request a seat at the event call the Wigan Council’s Business Transformation Team on 01942 827280.

  • You can also e-mail localdemocracyweek@wigan.gov.uk for more information, to book a place at Question Time or to suggest a question.


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